Abraham Lincoln High School in southeastern San Diego. Photo courtesy San Diego Unified

San Diego Unified School District board member Sharon Whitehurst-Payne is demanding an apology after City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe questioned the district’s handling of Lincoln High School.

On Thursday afternoon, the school board circulated a letter from Whitehurst-Payne in which she accused the councilmember of “launching an uninformed assault” against the academy-based high school in southeast San Diego.

“Your attack on our students and Lincoln High School is beneath the dignity of your office. You owe those students and our community an apology,” wrote Whitehurst-Payne.

On May 19, Montgomery Steppe wrote to the district with 12 questions she wanted answered, citing “grave concerns over the instability at LHS.”

The councilmember cited community concerns about student performance, suggested funds were being misspent, and questioned turnover among principals at the school.

On Friday, Montgomery Steppe called Whitehurst-Payne’s letter a “one-woman smear campaign” and defended her request for information, saying “transparency and accountability are not antagonistic.”

School Board President Richard Barrera has dismissed criticism of the school and praised Principal Stephanie Brown’s leadership.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.